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Four Gay Bullied Students Win Settlement From MN’s Anoka-Hennepin School District

A few weeks ago, the Anoka-Hennepin School District (Minnesota’s largest and perhaps not so coincidentally part of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s purview) finally revised its policy on how teachers can talk about sexual orientation in the classroom.

Now the school board has settled a lawsuit with six current and former students, four of whom identify as gay or bisexual and all of whom claimed to have experienced severe bullying, for $270,000 of insurance money, reports the Washington Post.

The district will spend $500,000 of its own money to institute changes to “help prevent and address sex-based harassment at its middle and high schools.”

After a suicide cluster where as many as nine bullied Anoka-Hennepin students took their lives within two years, this is welcome news.

Those changes include hiring consultants and cooperating with federal authorities to make sure LGBT students feel comfortable in the school. And, it was, of course, financially pragmatic.

Tom Heidemann, chairman of the schoolboard, said the settlement “likely saved the district millions of dollars and many years of ongoing litigation.”

Kathy Tinglestad, the lone dissenter on the board who voted against settling, decided she would play the victim and resign over the disagreement. “Like a target of bullying,” said Tinglestad, “I choose to leave this situation, by resigning, instead of fighting back against the out-of-state bullies… [who] drug [this issue] through the mud.”

Sorry we wanted to get involved, Kath. Seemed like you guys needed some help, though, no?

Now time will tell whether the changes will work. They should allow teachers to intervene and protect their students when they are the subject of intense bullying, including physical abuse and verbal slurs.

Dylan Frey, a gay ninth-grade student named in the lawsuit, sees the light at the end of the tunnel. “I see change coming and I’m real excited for it,” he said.

In Anoka-Hennepin, it’s finally getting better.

Click through for the long list of measures to help prevent and address sex-based harassment at its middle and high schools the Department of Education has agreed to implent in Anoka-Hennepin.

By:           Evan Mulvihill
On:           Mar 6, 2012
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 6 Comments
    • hudson
      hudson

      After watching Ms Bachmann on Piers Morgan last night, I can’t wait to hear her response to this…….The woman is incredible. And not in a good way.

      Mar 6, 2012 at 10:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      maybe it’s a good thing Ms. Tinglestad resigned from the board? I mean, what school board needs a member who doesn’t know that “drug” is not the past tense of “to drag”.

      Mar 6, 2012 at 10:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      Good make them pay the hate away, and, I hope more kids, gay, straight, or just different start suing these schools, maybe then, they will go after these cowards/bullies more strongly.

      Mar 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Rose
      Scott Rose

      Kathy Tingelstad is a cowardly gay-bashing bully. She thinks she is going to “send a message” by resigning from a school board because she may no longer maintain a gay-bashing status quo in a public school? She’s a joke! Other schools are going to look at how the school district was obliged to protect students through a federal court suit and intervention, not at how the cowardly gay-bashing bigot Kathy Tingelstad went running away with her bigot tail between her legs.

      Mar 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Rose
      Scott Rose

      AT THIS LINK IS THE ARTICLE “KATHY TINGELSTAD, GAY-BASHING ANOKA BIGOT”
      http://tinyurl.com/7lot9fp

      Mar 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      I went to a high school in the Anoka-Hennepin district, When I was a student there I was part of a glbt counselling group, I tried bringing awareness of bullying and it’s negative aftermaths…I was shot down by the school, the principal flat out told me no that I could not put up posters of this genre in the halls, that it has no place in the school. nice to know that these issues are still being had at this school district.

      Mar 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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